Updated: Jul 24
Catheterization labs which is also known as cardiac cath labs, are specialized facilities used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases. These labs use a variety of techniques and tools to visualize and access the coronary arteries and other structures of the heart. In this article, we will explore the latest catheterization lab techniques and tools used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
Coronary angiography is a common technique used in catheterization labs to diagnose coronary artery disease. In this procedure, a small catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin or arm and guided to the heart. A contrast dye is then injected through the catheter, which allows the cardiologist to visualize the coronary arteries on an X-ray machine. This helps identify any blockages or narrowing in the arteries that may be causing symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR)
Fractional flow reserve, or FFR, is a technique used to determine the severity of a coronary artery blockage. In this procedure, a special wire with a pressure sensor is inserted into the artery and guided to the blockage. The wire measures the pressure on either side of the blockage, which helps the cardiologist determine whether the blockage is causing a significant reduction in blood flow to the heart. This information can help guide decisions about whether to perform a coronary intervention, such as angioplasty or stenting.
Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)
Intravascular ultrasound, or IVUS, is a technique used to visualize the inside of the coronary arteries. In this procedure, a small ultrasound probe is inserted into the artery and guided to the area of interest. The probe emits high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the artery walls and create images that can be viewed on a computer screen. IVUS can help identify the size and location of a blockage and guide decisions about the best treatment approach.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
Optical coherence tomography, or OCT, is another technique used to visualize the inside of the coronary arteries. In this procedure, a specialized catheter with a tiny camera is inserted into the artery and guided to the area of interest. The camera uses light waves to create high-resolution images of the artery walls, which can help identify the location and characteristics of a blockage. OCT is particularly useful for identifying the presence of plaque inside the artery, which can help guide decisions about the best treatment approach.
Coronary Flow Reserve (CFR)
Coronary flow reserve, or CFR, is a measure of the heart's ability to increase blood flow to the coronary arteries during times of increased demand, such as exercise. In this procedure, a special catheter is inserted into the artery and guided to the area of interest. A medication is then injected into the artery, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow. The cardiologist can then measure the increase in blood flow to determine the heart's ability to increase blood flow in response to increased demand. This information can help guide decisions about the best treatment approach.
To sum up catheterization labs use a variety of techniques and tools to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. These techniques include coronary angiography, fractional flow reserve, intravascular ultrasound, optical coherence tomography, and coronary flow reserve. By using these advanced techniques, cardiologists can more accurately diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease, leading to better outcomes for patients. It is essential for doctors in the field of cardiology to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in catheterization lab techniques to provide the best possible care to their patients, to do so ADN CoE provides trainings and meetings with the aim of gathering doctors around the glove to share their insights in these cardiology procedures techniques and tools, enlarge their knowledge and contribute in their developement.